Savage Society will present phase two of 'Songs from the Land' at this year's Lytton River Festival

River Festival receives grant

The 12th annual River Festival in Lytton gets federal government funds for this year's event.

MP Mark Strahl announced last week that the Government of Canada is providing $10,950 in funding to the Lytton River Festival Society.

The funding, which comes from the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage program, will support the River Festival, now in its 12th year, and will enable the LRFS to showcase the work of more than 120 artists and heritage performers.

This year’s River Festival takes place over the Labour Day weekend, Sept. 4‑6. The Festival is expected to attract more than 1,800 people, and will include live musical performances, hands-on artist-delivered workshops, and First Nations drumming and dancing.

“The Lytton River Festival is a popular event that features the ‘Peoples of the Rivers’—the Thompson and Fraser—and the present and historic role they have played in the small community of Lytton,” says Bernie Fandrich, President of the LRFS. “Without Canadian Heritage funding, it would have been almost impossible to develop the strong First Nations component that is integral to this family-oriented festival.”

This year’s festival starts at 8:30 am on Sept. 4 with “Walk the West Side”, a stroll along the Fraser to celebrate the two rivers, and finishes with a community dinner at 5:30 pm on Sept. 6, with entertainment provided by First Nations blues performer Gerald Charlie. In between will be non-stop entertainment from musicians, Circus West, a fire dancer, cultural performers, and more, while artisans demonstrate their crafts, participants learn how to hand drum, kayak, or rock climb, and locals show off their performing skills.

Fandrich is especially pleased with the inclusion this year of a performance by the Savage Society. It’s the brainchild of local actor and playwright Kevin Loring, and will present the second phase in the “Songs of the Land” community project. Savage Society will be taking an ancient traditional Nlaka’pamux story, “The Battle of the Birds”, and creating a show using community members. An opening feast and informative discussion will be held at the Lytton Memorial Hall at 6:00 pm on August 4, and anyone interested in learning more or taking part is welcome to attend. The completed project will debut at the Festival at 2:30 pm on Sunday, Sept. 6.

The Festival will also coincide with Cache for Gold, a major Geocaching event sponsored by the Gold Country Communities Society. It starts at 6:00 pm on Sept. 4 at the Caboose Park, then kicks into high gear at 10:00 am on Sept. 5, again at the Caboose Park, with the release of new geocaches and coordinates.

The Lytton Farmers’ Market, Museum, and Visitor Centre will be open throughout the Festival, with a storytelling event at the Museum on Sept. 4. The Farmers’ Market will be full of delights, from local produce and food to unique hand-crafted items.

And no River Festival would be complete without a Lytton tradition: Chicken Poop Bingo! This hilarious variation on bingo needs to be seen to be believed: picture you, a toonie, a chicken, a few chicken droppings, a (large) bingo board, and lots of anticipation and tension, and you’re getting close!

For more information about this year’s Lytton River Festival, visit their website at www.riverfestival.ca

Barbara Roden

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